Monday, March 30, 2015

Barns - a lost piece in time of Appalachian history

What is it about a barn that tugs at the heartstrings of memories? The other night, I was sitting down after dinner watching the Barnwood Builders tv show on Great American Country.  Actually, I had dvr several episodes to watch them all at once.  Something that caught my eye and that was the fact that people throughout Appalachia were selling their barns to be torn down and re-purposed by this group.  They took the wood to use inside houses and other structures.  However, it was sad that quite a few of these barns seemed to be in great condition.  The owners just didn't want to have the hassle of the upkeep of the barn.

Barns have been a part of my family for generations.  I look back at photos of my grandparents that passed away two years ago.  Over time, you saw quite a few photos of them standing out in front of their weathered red barn.

My own family built a simple black and white tobacco barn that is still being used today.  My favorite memory was when WLEX's weather guy, Bill Meck, came down to our farm in 1999 for "Bill's Backyard BBQ."  He had never seen a tobacco plant up close until he visited our farm.  He also just had to get a photo in front of our barn with the painted smiley face.

Out on KY-30 as you leave London and head towards McKee in Jackson County, there once stood a barn with the Mail Pouch Tobacco advertisement.  Sadly, after years of wear and tear and a heavy wind storm, it blew over.

Then throughout the southern US, you would see barns that would advertise to "See Rock City" or to "Eat KFC."  Dotted across the countryside in Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, barn quilts would appear with trails formed to view the beauty of the country side, as well as the artwork of the homemakers that painted the quilts.

As they dot along the highway, be sure to take a closer look at the very object that is becoming rare to see - the all American wooden barn.

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